Arthritis diet: Can drinking red wine ease inflammation and pain? How much is ‘safe’?

Arthritis: Doctor gives advice on best foods to help ease pain

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Arthritis can be a crippling condition, particularly for those who experience flare-ups of joint pain common in rheumatoid arthritis. However, certain dietary choices can help to ease and reduce the risk of symptoms according to experts.

While drinking alcohol can often be a foe for those with arthritis, experts from charity Arthritis.org say red wine might actually have a beneficial effect.

This is particularly true for people who suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

However, sufferers should be wary about just how much wine they are consuming, as exceeding the recommended limit could have less desirable effects.

How can red wine ease the symptoms of arthritis?

Red wine contains a compound called resveratrol which has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects.

According to Arthritis.org: “Some studies show wine consumption is associated with a reduced risk of knee OA, and moderate drinking is also associated with a reduced risk of RA.”

Karen Costenbader, MD, MPH, a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said: “Moderate alcohol consumption reduces biomarkers of inflammation, including c-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6, and TNF-alpha receptor 2.”

However, many experts question just how beneficial these theories are in practice.

Some studies show that alcohol consumption can actually have the opposite effect on arthritis inflammation – leading to more pain rather than less.

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How much red wine is safe to drink?

Moderate is the keyword when it comes to the benefits of red wine for arthritis.

Dr Costenbader said: “We saw that for women who drank between five and 10 grams of alcohol a day, there was a reduced risk of RA.”

Five grams of alcohol equates to roughly two regular glasses of wine or 3.5 units of alcohol.

However, experts agree that taking up drinking if you do not already is not a healthy option.

People who do not drink are advised not to start, especially for the purpose of pain relief.

What is the negative impact of alcohol on arthritis?

Although there is research to suggest moderate red wine drinking could be beneficial in reducing inflammation, there are also multiple studies suggesting alcohol, in general, could be detrimental for arthritis sufferers.

People who suffer from conditions such as gout could face flare-ups when drinking alcohol.

This is due to the amount of purine in alcohol such as beer, wine and distilled liquor which can trigger joint attacks.

Alcohol can also react negatively with certain medications which are used to treat arthritis.

According to Arthritis.org, in some cases drinking alcohol may “do more harm than good”.

Excess drinking can also damage your body in many other ways, increasing your chances of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

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